Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Feb 2015 11:37 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives

A few years back, the Macintosh operating system was considered innovative and fun. Now many view it as dated and badly in need of a rewrite rather than a simple upgrade. Windows 95 is the most popular operating system in the world - but this operating system is in many ways a copy of the Mac OS, less the Mac's character. Many programmers and computer enthusiasts enjoy the command-line interface power of Unix - but Unix isn't nearly intuitive enough for the average end user. What users really want is an operating system that has an easy-to-use graphical user interface, takes advantage of the power of today's fast microprocessor chips, and is unencumbered with the burdens of backward compatibility. Enter Be, Inc., and the BeOS - the Be operating system.

The glory days.

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I have this book
by henderson101 on Tue 3rd Feb 2015 12:22 UTC
henderson101
Member since:
2006-05-30

I have this book, and got it back in the early 2000's. It's pretty good, but it was a bit dated by R5.03 standards, as I think it was targeting the R3/R4 era BeOS. It's also mainly PowerPC. Good initial learning resource at the time though.

Reply Score: 4

RE: I have this book
by zittergie on Tue 3rd Feb 2015 19:42 UTC in reply to "I have this book"
zittergie Member since:
2008-01-24

Me too ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: I have this book
by unclejun on Thu 5th Feb 2015 19:03 UTC in reply to "I have this book"
unclejun Member since:
2012-11-13

I have it as well, along with most of the japanese Beos related books, and there are many!

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Drunkula
by Drunkula on Tue 3rd Feb 2015 13:41 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

"Windows 95 is the most popular operation system in the world" Read that and thought, WTF? Ah! I see it's a e-book from a book dated 1999. No wonder...

Reply Score: 2

book tip
by judgen on Wed 4th Feb 2015 00:53 UTC
judgen
Member since:
2006-07-12

Fun book for BeOS (or OS enthusiasts in general) is the "BeOS Bible" by Scott Hacker. Quite a tome, as it has soo many pages and the book is huge, but it is still fun to go through.

Reply Score: 4

Love the nostalgia trip!
by Hank on Wed 4th Feb 2015 02:29 UTC
Hank
Member since:
2006-02-19

I dug BeOS since I saw the first cover on Macworld. That was back when they were still on BeBoxes, if I recall correctly. I didn't get to experience it for real until R4 on Intel but I had high hopes for it taking off. I have this book, plus the BeOS Bible. I even think I found this site many years ago from the benews.com website, although I may be mistaken at that point. Ah, if only history had broken differently ;) .

Reply Score: 3

RE: Love the nostalgia trip!
by Alfman on Wed 4th Feb 2015 14:51 UTC in reply to "Love the nostalgia trip!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Hank,

Ah, if only history had broken differently.



BeOS had tons of merit, but they didn't have the capital nor leverage that MS used to coerce OEMs into give it exclusive deals. MS was great at blocking competition this way. Had the DOJ prosecuted microsoft's antitrust abuses consistently and immediately instead of turning a blind eye for decades, then we would have 1) much heather market for different operating systems, 2) a leaner & more competitive microsoft. I definitely believe Be would be alive and well today to bring more innovation in the OS arena.

Edited 2015-02-04 14:53 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Love the nostalgia trip!
by BluenoseJake on Wed 4th Feb 2015 16:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Love the nostalgia trip!"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

I somehow doubt Be would be here regardless what the DOJ could have done to MS back in the day. Other OS's? Sure, BeOS, i can't see it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Love the nostalgia trip!
by Kochise on Wed 4th Feb 2015 16:56 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Love the nostalgia trip!"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

I had a friend that introduced me to R4. It was some sort of amazing, smooth and stuff. But the network stack was subpar.

Reply Score: 2

tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

But the network stack was subpar.


Now, there's an understatement. :-P


BeOS had a few great technical merits, but it was far from being as good of an OS as its die hard fans believe it to have been.

Reply Score: 3

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I never did anything crazy network related, so I can't speak to that, however my particular PC was so much faster and more stable running BeOS r5 than Windows 98 SE. Unfortunately, all I could do was program c/c++, watch TV and browse the web on it. I couldn't justify the purchase of an office suite, and there were none available, nor any Computer algebra systems ( mathmatica, maple, Mathcat, TkSolver, etc)

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Love the nostalgia trip!
by zlynx on Wed 4th Feb 2015 22:20 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Love the nostalgia trip!"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

You didn't need to do anything crazy.

I watched BeOS do FTP for infinite time. It would go slower and slower and slower. I think it had to do with TCP window sizes. It never would finish. You had to cancel the FTP download and resume.

Reply Score: 3

Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

It would go slower and slower and slower. I think it had to do with TCP window sizes. It never would finish.


It's because the TCP stack was written by one of Zeno's disciples.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Love the nostalgia trip!
by Alfman on Wed 4th Feb 2015 22:02 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Love the nostalgia trip!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

BluenoseJake,

I somehow doubt Be would be here regardless what the DOJ could have done to MS back in the day. Other OS's? Sure, BeOS, i can't see it.


Microsoft coerced OEMs not to do business with MS competitors, given MS 95+% monopoly status and mostly Laissez-faire regulation, it worked. Of course, it wasn't just BeOS, but in a way Be was representative of all the small vendors who suffered under microsoft monopoly tactics:

http://www.webcitation.org/query?id=1298667420478086

MS eventually settled the BeOS case with Palm to a tune of $23M, but this was a couple years after Be was gone - dissolved for it's assets. It was much too late to do any good for BeOS. We'll never know what all of these small companies would have been able to do innovation-wise, but how disgraceful it is that they had to fight legal battles in court for something so basic as the right to have their products competing fairly against microsoft's.

Edited 2015-02-04 22:03 UTC

Reply Score: 1

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

The management sucked. The OS was nice, but the company themselves, naw, MS was just one nail in a mighty heavy coffin.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Love the nostalgia trip!
by Alfman on Thu 5th Feb 2015 16:37 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Love the nostalgia trip!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

BluenoseJake,

The management sucked. The OS was nice, but the company themselves, naw, MS was just one nail in a mighty heavy coffin.



That's just the point though, we really don't know what would have happened if MS antitrust tactics were stopped right away instead of allowed to go on for so long. Arguably, MS windows was very vulnerable to competition because microsoft's own OS was extremely buggy and unstable. The BSOD was an infuriating problem for end users. Format/reinstall was the normal procedure to fix a myriad of problems. Heck even MS had windows trouble using hardware they selected themselves:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW7Rqwwth84

Now put yourself in the shoes of a competitor during that time, you might well have been able to offer users a superior desktop experience, yet you are unable to partner with any hardware OEMs because MS contracts prohibit them partnering with you. We don't know how many consumers would have been willing, yet unable, to buy non-windows PCs. That users of BSDs & linux distros were paying for unused licenses of MS windows was a testament to the scope of microsoft's power.

Even just a fraction of the market represents billions of dollars. I happen to think the money could have gone *a lot* further for innovation than it did at microsoft. At the end of the day I will concede that it's just speculation. MS might still be top dog anyways, or maybe someone else we hadn't heard of would be on top now, who knows. The thing that I consider to be important is that everyone be given a fair shot to compete, which means that that antitrust abuses must be dealt with swiftly and can't be dragged out in court at huge expense for the victims over many years.

Edited 2015-02-05 16:39 UTC

Reply Score: 1

BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Well, I think they would have failed anyway. You don't. Let's just leave it at that.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Love the nostalgia trip!
by Alfman on Thu 5th Feb 2015 17:14 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Love the nostalgia trip!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

BluenoseJake,

Well, I think they would have failed anyway. You don't. Let's just leave it at that.


Haha, that's fine. However by "they" are you still referring to BeOS? It's true they were victims, but I'd like to clarify that stopping antitrust abuses would have have helped make competition more viable in general (my prior post doesn't mention beos at all). More competition would have resulted in more choices & innovation for consumers. Even microsoft would have had to change tactics from fighting with coercive OEM contracts & courts to focusing on making their own products better. So it would have been a good outcome for MS users too.

Edited 2015-02-05 17:27 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Love the nostalgia trip!
by zlynx on Wed 4th Feb 2015 22:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Love the nostalgia trip!"
zlynx Member since:
2005-07-20

As much as I like Linux and think Windows has some design problems... I think the Wintel monopoly was actually good for the PC ecosystem.

Software developers hate building for multiple platforms. And when we do it, we end up writing for one and doing crappy compatibility layers for the others. Just observe any console port.

If there had been real competition in the OS arena Java would have really taken off. All apps would have that nasty Java Swing GUI look. Yes, even on BeOS.

Microsoft Office would probably run on BeOS through a Win32 compatibility layer, which means it would look exactly like the Windows version.

That and Flash. There would be tons of Flash apps. Just like those weird and nasty CD-ROM "adventure" games from the 1990s.

All of those compatibility layers for developers would have resulted in tons of wasted developer time.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Love the nostalgia trip!
by Alfman on Wed 4th Feb 2015 23:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Love the nostalgia trip!"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

zlynx,

As much as I like Linux and think Windows has some design problems... I think the Wintel monopoly was actually good for the PC ecosystem.


I find this puzzling.

Software developers hate building for multiple platforms. And when we do it, we end up writing for one and doing crappy compatibility layers for the others. Just observe any console port.


Maybe, but most developers are actually critical of win32s, so who's to say that something else wouldn't have been better for us?

If there had been real competition in the OS arena Java would have really taken off. All apps would have that nasty Java Swing GUI look. Yes, even on BeOS.


Yes, java could have benefited. However it would not have happened in a vacuum and other toolkits would have likely come in to fill any gaps, which could have been a good thing.

Microsoft Office would probably run on BeOS through a Win32 compatibility layer, which means it would look exactly like the Windows version.


But this only works so long as MS had a Windows monopoly. Without that, then logically office could never have become a monopoly unless it was also competitive on other platforms.

That and Flash. There would be tons of Flash apps. Just like those weird and nasty CD-ROM "adventure" games from the 1990s.


Seems like a counter example, we had tons of flash apps despite the wintel monopoly.

All of those compatibility layers for developers would have resulted in tons of wasted developer time.


Seems a bit vague without more information, they might also have saved time by developing on non-win32 platforms.

So, to all your points, I have to say, yes maybe. But then again maybe not. We as a society have spent trillions on MS to make it what it is, we'll never really know what else could have been if the money was invested in a market with healthier competition.

Reply Score: 1

Still have my shirt
by ezraz on Wed 4th Feb 2015 19:49 UTC
ezraz
Member since:
2012-06-20

I got BeOS and the T-shirt at some point and installed on my mac clone. I really enjoyed it, it was very fast and very much a model for where OSX and Windows would go.

To see 6 animations or movies going at once, to spin 3D objects without jitter anywhere on the screen, to drag websites to the desktop and they kept functioning as they were in the "browser", that was awesome stuff. Limited with no work apps, but oh well. That was a hard time for home PC's, everything was crashy, fewer standards on connections and RAM was crazy expensive.

BeOS really drove Apple to buy Next, because so many of their powerusers were checking out BeOS and wondering why their mac seemed so slow and crashy. So BeOS is pretty important to me, and a good part of the reason I don't ever really need to reboot.

Reply Score: 0